April 20, 2006 Subject:
Has bonus of 10 minutes with staff after press leaves
Press conference 09/06/1940. The film recording system is described in American Heritage Magazine Oct 1982. The sound suffers because we hear poor quality acetate transfers. There was a large broadcast quality microphone hidden in a lamp: it even picks up sounds of a pen writing on paper, but voices farther away are muffled. FDR is asked about possible use of an island off Costa Rica as a naval base. He shows incredible mastery of detail:"Cocos is just a mountain peak, and could not support a flying field, no harbor, deep water all around. Could possibly land seaplanes on the lee side of the island." Dismisses another island because the lagoon is not deep enough for seaplanes. Lend lease is discussed: reporter wants to know when press can see all the papers. FDR says State Dept rules call for declassifying after 10 years, so come back in 1950! After reporters leave, amazing to hear a President's private discussions with staff, such as how to deal with criticism by an American travelling in the far east, without letting his organization know we are on to him. Discusses United Press misquoting Sec. Knox. At end, mentions spelling reforms instituted by Teddy Roosevelt 45 years earlier. It is fun to be a fly on the wall.
March 31, 2005 Subject:
Prez and the P.R.
I think I'm in for a long haul here :) The FDR press conferences seem to begin with the reporters filling in, the president mingling with reporters then the press conferences begin. Here he apparently talks about Puerto Rico, among other things, then the reporters disperse, and the president talks to his staff some more.